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Pushkar Camel Fair: The Event Attended Annually by Hundred Thousand Visitors

Pushkar Camel Fair is an annual meeting of tribesmen, cattle breeders and everyone who owns camels, goats or sheep. It’s a place for trade of the above-mentioned animals and for some its the only source of income throughout the year. In addition to the trade, Pushkar Camel Fair is host to various activities and traditions which are witnessed only during that time of the year. Thousands of villagers, tradesmen and travellers gather every year in Pushkar to be a part of this one of a kind celebration.

Held mostly in the month of November, the Pushkar Camel Fair or Pushkar Mela is a unique experience for travellers. The festival showcases the colours, traditions and culture of Rajasthan that rightly give it the name “Rangeelo Rajasthan.” This is not only the largest cattle fair in the world, but is also well known for its vibrant and colourful cultural events, that are bound to leave you astounded. 

The festival exhibits some unique things that you would rarely see outside this festival. The Pushkar camel fair festival is a riot of colours. Brightly and uniquely decorated camels, people dressed in vibrant traditional costumes, quirky competitions will keep vying for your attention.  I can assure you if you do attend the festival, there is not going to be a single dull moment throughout.

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Pushkar Camel Fair: An Overview

The Pushkar camel fair that started of as a trading place for cattle has become much bigger now. Travellers from all over the country and the world visit the festival and participate in it with great enthusiasm. Here are a few things you need to know about the festival if you are planning on attending it this time. 

Location

West India, Pushkar

Festival Dates 

Kartik Purnima (according to Hindu Lunar Calendar) that usually falls in October or November

Pushkar Fair 2019

4 – 12 November

Temperature

Day 40°C (average)

Night 15°C (average)

State

Rajasthan

Nearest town

Ajmer

Cost

Rs. 6000 per head

Festival Highlights

Camel Race, Longest Moustache Competition, Bridal Competitions, Matka race,  etc.

Accommodation Options

Homestays, Hotels and Tents



History of Pushkar Camel Fair

Pushkar as a place itself date backs to Mohenjodaro civilization with many artefacts discovered from time to time.  The temple of Brahma, the gurudwaras of Sikhs, the history of Afghans – Pushkar has witnessed them all. This city holds its description in the religious texts of Ramayana and the Mahabharata. The archaeological history dates back to the Maratha and British rule.

During the holy Kartik Purnima festival (according to Hindu Lunar Calendar), pilgrims come to Pushkar to bathe in the holy waters of Pushkar Lake. The two days around the full moon are thought to be the most auspicious time of the year for taking a dip in the lake. A bath in the waters of the lake is believed to absolve people of their sins.

The original intent behind the 150-year-old Pushkar Camel Fair was to attract local camel and cattle traders to conduct business during this holy festival. As time passed by, the camel trading part was bested by an organized program arranged by the state’s Tourism department. This festival has now become world famous and attracts hundred thousands of visitors each year. 

Main Attractions of Pushkar Camel Fair

Pushkar Camel Fair is mainly the confluence of different varieties of cattle from around the region. The camel race during the fair will definitely attract your attention. The different types of events which includes camels, sheep and goats will be a completely new experience.

In addition to the cattle, the beautiful native Rajasthani handicraft work will make sure you come here again. The traditional dances, longest moustache competition, Turban Tying competition, Camel Decoration, Matka Race for women, bridal competition, etc. attract travellers the most.

Apart from there, the festival also has Ferris wheels, magic shows, for one and all to enjoy.

Pushkar Camel Fair A fully decorated camel. Photography by Emma

How to Reach and Timely Attend the Pushkar Camel Fair?

You could board a plane, catch a train or travel through the roadway to attend the Pushkar Camel Fair. Here’s how:

By Air

If you opt for flight, the closest you will get is till Jaipur airport. From Jaipur, you either need to commute through local jeeps or buses. This will be a 150 km long journey.

By Train

If you travel by train, it’ll drop you till Ajmer station. From Ajmer, Pushkar is a mere 10 km. 

By Bus

If you choose to travel by bus, you can either take the bus directly to Pushkar or take the bus to any major city of Rajasthan. From there board another bus which will lead you to Pushkar and finally Pushkar Camel Fair.

Accommodation Options at Pushkar Camel Fair

It is important to remember that the Pushkar Camel fair witnesses a huge influx of visitors. Therefore, the demand for accommodations skyrocket, and prices rise steeply during this time. The accommodation options include simple guesthouses, tented camps, heritage hotels, etc.

The best way to get a budget accommodation during the fair is to arrive a couple of days before the fair starts and look for a cheaper options. You can also book accommodations well in advance if your plan is charted out. 

Tents are available at the exact location of Pushkar camel fair, but if you wish to spend a comfortable and cosy night the hotels of all ranges are available. These hotels not only provide food and shelter but also act as a local tour provider with different packages.

For instance – 

Rs 2,000 package

Camel ride

Toll paid

 

Rs 3,000 package

Camel  ride and jeep safari of sand dunes

 

Rs 5,000 package

Camel  ride and jeep safari of sand dunes

Lunch

dinner with camp fire

 

Rs 10,000 package

Camel  ride and jeep safari of sand dunes

Lunch

sunset view

dinner with camp fire

Is Pushkar Camel Fair Safe for Travelers and Backpackers?

Pushkar is a traditional city, the sources of income here are limited. this is where tourism comes in handy. It is for this reason that the local people here receive travellers with all their heart and provide them with the best experience. They also have local guards, the police force and the NCC cadets during the Pushkar Camel Fair to ensure the safety of everyone.

The campfire, the cultural and folk activities and nightlife of the place already make it a safe place.

Nearby Places to Visit While at Pushkar Camel Fair

While visiting Pushkar, make a ‘to-do-visit-list’ of the places according to the priority of visiting them. The subsequent order can be followed –

Pushkar lake
Brahmaji temple
Rajbohra ghat
Lake Foy Sagar
Sunset point
Pushkar Camel Fair

Pushkar Lake. Photography by Anchit Gupta

Taste a Variety of Food Items at Pushkar Camel Fair

The Pushkar Camel Fair might be situated in the midst of desert but they serve you everything from snacks to the traditional thali of Rajasthan. Here are a few must try. 

Pyali mei chai’ and ‘kulhadd lassi’ (lassi in earthenware cup) are the drinks one mustn’t miss.
Dal baath (rice and pulse), churma ka saag, ladoo of various types, rice cooked in traditional style, gatte ki sabji. These were the food items which served us the taste of Gujarat.
Ann kutte ki pooja dish” is a special dish of the place which literally includes  56 types of food items in the dish. If you have been there you have got to try it.
Apart from these the regular edible items of the north and west India are available at every hotel and food counter.
Pushkar Camel Fair

Kulhad Lassi. Photography by Vaibhav Reekhan

Must Visit Places Near Pushkar

Rajasthan is a place which has no dearth of places to visit. There are a plenty of places you can visit near Pushkar. Some of the things you can do near Pushkar are:

Zip lining at Jodhpur Mehrangarh Fort which cost around Rs. 1500-2000 for an hour.
Trekking to the mountains of Aravali range.
Try visiting as many forts as you could cover from Mehrangarh Fort, Junagarh Fort, Chittor fort, Jaisalmer Fort, Amer fort. These forts hold the rich culture of old architectural heritage.

Apart from these, a journey in the sequence Jaisalmer to Jodhpur to Ajmer to Pushkar will help in covering best of everything.

Top Tips for First Time Travelers

This place is an angel in a demon’s appearance – literally.  If you’re planning to head to Pushkar Camel fair, make sure you have the following –

Carry boots. If not possible then at least carry shoes which will cover your feet up to ankles.
Don’t be fooled in carrying summer clothing only. You will need warm clothes at night.
While on the sand dunes do not let any object fall. Else, it’ll be lost forever. 
The women of the area are extremely conservative and of shy nature, practice caution while communicating with them. Else you might hurt their sentiments.
Observe traditionally built houses. You will notice the exact same pattern in each of them.
Pushkar Camel Fair

A child dressed as Lord Shiva at the fair. Photography by Jenish Josh

 

Rajasthan is world renowned for its culture and hospitality. If you ever find yourself in Rajasthan around the time of the Pushkar Camel Fair, make sure you do not miss it. Immerse yourself in a brand new experience at the Fair and return home with lots of memories.

Happy wayfaring 🙂

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Abhijeet Binjve

Abhijeet Binjve

Abhijeet Binjve is a nineteen-year-old engineering student by profession but describes himself as a traveler. He believes in capturing the world through the frame of his lens and then portraying his captures with words of his own. If there’s anything that is more important to him other than traveling is food. He goes by the nickname of Potterhead among friends and that’s what describes him as “you don’t know me but you’re about to”.

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